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Family behind BMW tops Germany's rich list

[FRANKFURT] The Quandt family, shareholders of carmaker BMW, have overtaken the founders of discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl as Germany's wealthiest family, weekly Manager Magazin said on Tuesday.

The personal fortune of Johanna Quandt, widow of the late industrialist Herbert Quandt, and her two children Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten, amounts to a combined US$39 billion, the magazine calculated, placing them at the top of its annual 500 rich-list.

The Quandts have therefore displaced the owners and founders of the discount supermarket empire, Aldi, the magazine said.

Aldi is divided into two parts, Aldi Nord and Aldi Sued, and the owners of the latter, the Albrecht and Heister families, have a combined fortune of 18.3 billion euros (S$29.5 billion), while the owners of Aldi Nord, the descendants of Theo Albrecht, have 16.5 billion euros.

Co-founder Karl Albrecht died at the age of 94 in July, four years after his brother Theo.

The Quandts hold a 46.7-per cent stake in BMW, but are also major shareholders in other German companies, such as carbon and graphite specialist SGL Carbon and chemicals maker Altana.

Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler and her son Georg are Germany's third-wealthiest people.

They own the Schaeffler group, a maker of ball bearings and are also shareholders in auto parts specialist Continental. Their personal fortune amounts to 17.6 billion euros, Manager Magazin calculated.

In fifth place is Dieter Schwarz, owner of discount supermarket chain Lidl, with a fortune of 14.5 billion euros and the Herz family of the Tchibo store chain rank seventh with 11 billion euros.

The magazine calculated that the Samwer brothers, founders of start-up incubator Rocket Internet, are the big winners of the year, with their personal fortune quadrupling in size between Sept 2013 and Sept 2014 to 3.5 billion euros.

The combined wealth of Germany's 100 richest people increased by 18.8 per cent over the past 12 months to 399.8 billion euros, as a result of rising stock markets, flourishing company profits and a property boom, the magazine said.

The combined fortune of the country's 500 wealthiest rose by 16 per cent to 612 billion euros, it added.-AFP